The sky is no limit
Great ideas connect people. The e-volo is proving with its pioneering development of the Volocopter that the revolution in the field of travel has not yet been dreamt through to its conclusion. The design of the VC1 immediately revealed the potential in this field and immediately led to the first manned, electrically powered rotorcraft as an aircraft, the Volocopter VC200.
e-volo moves into new company headquarters
Another milestone in the company history of the Volocopter team is the relocation of the company headquarters to Bruchsal. This change had become necessary as the existing site did not provide suitable spreading areas for our growing team. With the move, we have also abolished the spatial separation between office/development and hangar/airfield of the Volocopter.
The new building now offers sufficient space for the team's growth. And it allows us to provide our employees with a professional work environment and to provide an appropriate framework for our visitors from all over the world.
The Volocopter demonstrates dynamic high speed flight properties
Our development team conducted test flights with the Volocopter at a special test flight area in Bavaria.
During the test flight program, the Volocopter demonstrated various dynamic flight maneuvers at higher speeds for the first time.
These test flights did not only serve as a presentation of possible flight dynamics. The actual goal was to gain important knowledge in order to optimize the current developments of the new prototype for serial production. This included determining the VC200’s power requirements during different flight maneuvers and at different speed levels.
In order to evaluate the limits of flight behavior, the positioning and height automation, as well as the flight maneuver limits were deactivated during some tests.
One significant advantage of the Volocopter is its ability to be operated unmanned. This allowed the e-volo development team to fly the new aircraft from the ground via remote control with a special permit during the test flights.
The flight characteristics can be predetermined by altering the parameters in the control software. The goal is to program the future series-produced Volocopter as a sporty and agile aircraft while also preventing unsafe flight maneuvers, no matter how aggressively the pilot operates the joystick.
Germany, Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance: "AERO - The Global Showfor general aviation“. We presented the first manned flights with the „White Lady“ based on a "Permit to Fly". High-level visits by EASA or the "Fantastic 4“ Rap-Star SMUDO were the highlights of our very successful exhibition presence.
Volocopter „White Lady“ is flying manned!
The premiere of manned flights with the world’s first certified Multicopter, e-volo’s Volocopter VC200, marks the beginning of a new era in urban mobility. The historic first flight performed on 30.03.2016 CEO Alexander Zosel. The historic world premiere of a flight with a certified multicopter was made by e-volo managing director Alexander Zosel on March 30th, 2016. On this day the creators gave the Volocopter VC200 with the registration D-MYVC the name "White Lady".
“The flight was totally awesome” Alex Zosel said right after his landing. “The machine was absolutely reliable, there were no vibrations, it was tremendous. Anyway, the first flight was simply unbelievable. I got in, we did the pre-checks for what felt like maybe 20 seconds, and after that I’d already got the all-clear for flying. I didn’t wait long, I simply pushed the lever upward and the Volocopter simply sprung upward in a single bound. It was unbelievable, it hovered totally weightlessly, I mean it didn’t at all feel like there were crazy forces at work, it was all just totally light and the Volocopter immediately converted every movement I made with the joystick.
It is definitely a sublime feeling to lift off, fly the first few meters, and then actually take my hand off the joystick and think that, yeah, it’s really as if I’m standing on the ground, and then I look down and there are 20-25 meters beneath me. So it’s definitely unbelievable what we’ve achieved here. It’s seriously unbelievable!“
Volocopter receives ‘permit-to-fly‘
To conduct test flights in the context of the test program ‘Multicopter’, e-volo has received the ‘permit-to-fly’ for its ultralight Volocopter VC200 (Registration mark: D-MYVC). The ‘permit-to-fly’ allows e-volo to officially conduct manned flights in the German airspace.
In preparation of the certification, e-volo has collected operating experience in more than 100 unmanned test flights. Via a professional remote control, new stress tests for the entire aircraft, as well as individual components were conducted by ‘testing’ various component failures. During these tests electronic motors, batteries, as well as flight control units were shut-off in full flight. Furthermore a test was conducted, by which ‘failing’ sensors deliver false data into the control network.
Lastly, the Volocopter had to pass a series of flights in turbulent weather conditions.
e-volo wins “Climate Champion COP21” in Paris
Within the scope of the “Solutions COP21 – Celebrate the Champions Night” at the Grand Palais on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, the Karlsruhe company e-volo GmbH received the award “Climate Champion COP 21” for their Volocopter, a helicopter operated by electricity. Frans Nauta, head of Climate-KIC Netherlands, presented the prize to the managing directors Alex Zosel and Florian Reuter as part of the festive event on the 4th of December. Nauta described the Volocopter as an environment-friendly mobility concept of the future with which public transport could partially “take off” into the third dimension in the near future. In the process, no transport infrastructure, such as roads, tunnels, or bridges, would have to be built and carbon dioxide emissions would also not increase during flight operation. Therefore, valuable natural landscapes can be preserved. The international award is a special honor for e-volo since it values the efforts of the Karlsruhe startup for mobility that is ecologically acceptable.
In total, the award was given to three companies whose technology has the potential to positively contribute to containing climate change in the near future. The two other award winners were from the Netherlands and France. Mary Robinson, Former President of Ireland and High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations, gave the keynote address for the “Celebrate the Champions Night“. In her speech about the Volocopter, Robinson said, “I am thrilled with the innovative capacity of the three companies awarded with the ‘Climate Champion Award’ tonight. My grandchildren would love the electric helicopter”. Furthermore, she explained that it is important to set technologies against climate change and to spread them from Europe into the whole world just like the ones of the three startups selected as Climate Champions. Robinson called for more global cooperation in order to develop solutions for climate change together. Moreover, she praised the members of the Climate-KIC for their efforts to take a leading role worldwide during the transition to a low-carbon society.
Florian Reuter, Frans Nauta and Alexander Zosel at the award ceremony
Successful test flight program
The last system components of the VC200 are put into operation. The following technical milestones haven been “flown through”.
- Put the automatic height and position adjustment technology in operation in an optimized state. The Volocopter stays in the air as if it has been “pegged up” there if you release your hands from the controls.
- The VC 2000 is flown for the simulation of pilot weights with an additional load of 120 kg.
- The joystick is put into operation. The whole team is extremely impressed at how simply and intuitively the VC200 can be piloted. The claim of e-volo’s marketing department that flying the Volocopter will be child’s play was impressively demonstrated.
Manufacture of electronic components
The installation work of the new electronic components in the VC200 has been completed. The commissioning of all the components which communicate with one another via the highly redundant optical data network is proceeding as planned.
A communication node of the data network
New shareholders, new capital
10,000,000 clicks on Youtube
European crowdfunding record
Maiden flight of the VC200
The maiden flight of the VC200 as well as the first test flights are successfully completed in the dm-arena in Karlsruhe. Following several flights of a few minutes’ duration with a number of gentle starts and landings all the expectations upon the Volocopter are exceeded.
The maiden flight of the VC200 in the dm-arena
World premiere of the VC200
The e-volo celebrates the world premiere of the VC200 in Berlin. The structure of the first prototype was completed to coincide with the presentation of the “GreenTecAward”. The topic of conversation on this evening is the Volocopter – as it floats above the gala guests at an altitude of 15 meters. At the award ceremony the “Goliath” Airbus was just able to beat off “David” in the form of e-volo from Karlsruhe.
The VC200 at the “GreenTec Awards”
New aviation class for the Volocopter
The innovative concept of the electronic VTOL aircraft was able to so convince the German Federal Ministry of Transport that it resolves upon a trialing scheme spanning a period of several years for the creation of a new aviation class for the Volocopter.
The DULV (The German Ultralight Association) is commissioned with drafting a manufacturing specification, work regulations and the training scheme for the future pilots in cooperation with e-volo.
Federal government subsidy for the project costs of € 2 million
As the “Volocopter” association research project the German Federal Ministry of Transport makes an undertaking to provide a subsidy of € 2 million for the project costs to construct a 2-seater helicopter within three years.
Two research institutions and four companies are involved in this project: The Institute for Aerodynamics and Gas Dynamics in Stuttgart, the Institute for Applied Research in Karlsruhe, Blank Skycontrol, DG Flugzeugbau, Helix and e-volo.
Oshkosh AirVenture in the USA
At the invitation of the EAA the VC2 prototype is presented at the Oshkosh AirVenture in the USA. The NASA innovation manager Mark Moore as well the head of development of the US Air Force, Dr. Mark Maybury will report there in their lectures on the future of aviation about the invention of the Volocopter.
The VC2 before the airfield in Oshkosh
Lindbergh innovation prize
e-volo wins the Lindbergh Innovation Prize in 2012. The aviation prizes of the Charles-Lindbergh Foundation are awarded to acknowledge innovations in environmentally-friendly aviation and to promote significant advances in the aviation field. "We believe that the development of the Volocopter promises significant prospects of radically altering local transport" stated Erik Lindberg, grandson of Charles Lindberg, at the prize award ceremony. “It has a long path of development before it but if this innovative concept reaches the commercial market it will dramatically alter the manner in which we move around the planet.”
The invention of the Volocopter
Stephan Wolf, Thomas Senkel and Alexander Zosel file an application for the first industrial property rights at the patent office in the course of the invention of the Volocopter. Additional national and international industrial property rights are drafted and submitted in the next few months.
Manned first flight writes aviation history
The three Volocopter inventors succeed in performing the world’s first manned flight with an electric multicopter. The flight of Thomas Senkel with the VC1 lasts precisely 90 seconds.
The video of the flight achieves 1 million clicks on YouTube within a few days. The global media response overwhelms the team of inventors but already provides an indication of the economic potential of the Volocopter. Inquiries and application ideas from all round the world reaffirm the e-volo team in its undertaking to develop an aircraft that is eligible for approval. Following the flight the decision is made to decommission the VC1 and to merely use it as an exhibit.
The VC1 with the test pilot during the historic first flight
The first prototypes are produced
Stephan Wolf programs the first flight control, Thomas Senkel develops the necessary electrical motors and designs the first prototypes and Alexander Zosel prepares the media presentation of the project. Even in this early phase the safety aspects are the key considerations in all the development decisions of the Volocopter's three inventors.
First flight model with 16 rotor blades
The calculations of the past few months reveal that it is indeed possible to lift the weight of a human into the air through in-house developments and an increase in the efficiency of the technologies in the market. The planning of the logistics for the specific implementation will follow.
The first quadrocopters that can be controlled very easily appear on the market as toys. The subsequent founders are fascinated by this and begin to reflect on how a human could be rendered airborne using this technology.